What do youth-run businesses tell us?

Young Talk

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One of the more exciting developments in recent years is the abundance of youth-run projects and businesses popping up around social media. Whether it’s baked goods, t-shirt designs, homemade jewelry, or community initiatives promoting themselves on Instagram and Facebook, it’s wonderful to see young and talented individuals create spaces for themselves in the entrepreneurial world.اضافة اعلان

However, one thing we miss when we praise such enterprises is that they are often rooted in necessity as much as they are in creativity.

The statistics regarding youth unemployment speak for themselves, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, young people have taken matters into their own hands as the established institutions have failed to provide them with reliable resources, programs, and opportunities that allow them to grow beyond their current state.

Young people don’t lack skill, they lack training.

More and more young people have taken on more untraditional career paths and have opted for self-employment and freelance careers. And it’s not unusual, considering that traditional careers don’t offer them much anymore. Those with full-time jobs work for salaries that make it difficult to build any viable savings, presenting more reasons to find a “side-hustle.”

Even as we might dismiss those who seek fame on social media due to its superficial and shallow nature, it still promises a more satisfying income than an average nine-to-five.

It is not only expected, but required, to be multidisciplinary, and though it’s brilliant to be so, it’s also unfair. It’s unfair to require each potential employee to be good at more than what they’re needed to do.

Many students and fresh graduates get taken advantage of by companies who don’t want the burden of a new salary to pay and so some interns are made to handle the responsibilities and tasks of an employee and made to work the same hours, all in the hope of a paid position. And despite all of this, they are lucky.

The frustrating aspect of all of this is the sentiment often parroted on local talk shows and public service announcements calling the youth invaluable members of society. That they are the future, that they will be inheriting this country and these institutions.

But considering the current state of young people in Jordan, these proclamations come off as naïve at best, if not outright patronizing.

There is so much talk of how to support the youth from youth programs and universities, but they lack adequately palpable results to allow trust.

Another unspoken side effect of such challenging circumstances is the simmering cynicism it has created. And cynicism is dangerous. It halts growth and promotes an apathetic approach devoid of any passion or incentive.

The positives of youth-run businesses is that it is a clear showcase of the energy, creativity, and more importantly, initiative that young people have.

If only these were recognized in more tangible ways that could positively impact them and allow them to better support themselves and their communities.

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